Coronavirus: Prevention and Best Practices

At DuPagePads, the health, safety, and well-being of those we serve are amongst our highest priorities. We are paying close attention to recent developments regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and this webpage will be used to communicate best practices, provide answers to frequently asked questions, and communicate updates as more information is learned.

Respiratory illnesses are currently circulating in Illinois, and symptoms include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. No one should assume that someone exhibiting these symptoms has coronavirus; however, standard precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of illness.

We are tremendously grateful to the many sites, supporters, and volunteers, for their continued commitment to serve the homeless on our community during this significant time period.

We follow these health and safety actions:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Official DCHD Hand Washing Guidelines
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. Official DCHD Household Guidelines
  • Limit physical contact such as shaking hands. Wear gloves.
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear sick.
    • Also called “social distancing” – it is recommended to keep 3-6 feet from anyone coughing or sneezing.
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces (tables, doorknobs, counters, pads, fixtures). Wear gloves.
    • A diluted bleach solution works for most items. Allow 10 minutes to air dry where possible.
      • For most cleaning, a ratio of 1 cup household bleach to 5 gallons of warm water.
      • For heavily soiled items, mix ¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of warm water.
      • If you make your own solution, dispose of it solution after each shift, as effectiveness decrease.
    • Other disinfectants may be used – follow each item’s labeling.
    • To avoid recontamination, use paper towels, not rags. Wipe down items in one direction (i.e. left-to-right or back-to-front).
  • Handle and serve food in a safe manner
  • Food should be served in the following manner wherever possible:
    • Encourage clients to wash hands prior to eating.  Each location will have handwashing facilities.  Alcohol-based hand gel can also be used.
    • If possible, ensure that food, drinks, and utensils are served to guests. Do not allow self-service buffets or “family-style” service.
    • Ensure that the plate is not handled by the guest until the end of the line; do not pass plates back and forth between the guest and the server.
    • Ensure plates are not reused for second servings. Paper plates and plasticware are good alternatives.
    • Disposable gloves must be worn when serving food.
  • Staff will be screening clients for potential risk and referring to appropriate health providers as necessary.

Additional best practices specific to serving those that are facing homelessness:

  • Maximize the distance between pads to 3-6 feet where possible, particularly for anyone showing signs of any illness.
  • Engage clients to empower them to be a part of the solution.
    • Clients can take the linens off their pads and place in the bags.
    • Clients can help with extra cleaning of surfaces.
  • Simplify menus to reduce the number of volunteers needed to prepare and serve food

List of needed donation items:

  • Hand Sanitizer (all sizes), medical gloves, isopropyl alcohol, bleach, Lysol or similar cleaning agents, and chlorine test strips for water safety.
  • Paper towels, facial tissues, toilet paper, and other paper products.
  • Prepacked snacks, coffee, condiments, bottled water, and other individual drinks.
  • Disposable medical facemasks, disposable cleaning gloves, disposable thermometers, plastic cups, and plastic bowls.
  • Large poster board and sharpies.

Please stay tuned to this page for more information as updates become available.

Additional Resources: